Barron Engineering Stabilizes Production Amid Rising Demand with PUMA Line
As a company based in the motorsport industry with its head office in Harderwijik, the Netherlands, Barron Engineering specializes in the manufacture and design of rally cars, indoor go-karts and motocross bikes. Equipped with a production and facility infrastructure optimized for the making of prototypes and the mass production of core parts, the company has found solutions to the rising demand for the machining of aluminum, steel and alloys in the PUMA MX and the PUMA SMX, two of DN's multi-tasking machine tools.
The challenge: improve productivity while assuring quality
Some twenty-two years ago, Barron Engineering began to produce wheel hubs that meet the quality standards of Haan Wheels, a renowned motocross company specializing in the production of customized wheels for the world’s best motocross athletes. They now supply about 6,000 high-quality wheel hubs to the company every year.
In the beginning, Barron Engineering manually produced machine parts with lathes and milling machines. After earning recognition for the quality of its products, however, the company soon faced the challenge of meeting a sharp increase in the quantity of orders.
Barron Engineering CEO Erwin Saverangs said, “We were tasked with increasing our production volume in a stable manner to meet the increased demand while maintaining the highest quality.” To meet the challenge, the company asked Dormac CNC Solution, DN Solutions' sales subsidiary in the Netherlands, for help. After Dormac recommended using the PUMA 230M, Barron purchased the model in 2004. With the PUMA 230M, Barron was able to increase its annual wheel production volume to 1,000 units, but the company’s orders kept increasing.
Barron then started to perform turning work with a turning machine, following the milling process, in addition to implementing a two- and three-shift plan, but it still couldn’t meet the ever increasing production requirements. Most notably, the machine tool setting values and cutting environments had to be readjusted for each process, and between ten and twelve workers had to work until late at night every day in what was an extremely labor-intensive practice by Dutch standards. Barron needed to find the key that would allow it to meet the increasing production volume while securing labor flexibility.
The solution: integrate all processes into one with the PUMA MX and SMX
The ideal solution consisted of finishing the milling and turning processes with a single machine tool. At the time, there were few multi-tasking machine tool manufacturers apart from DN Solutions, whose PUMA MX 2000 series was receiving widespread recognition in the market for its heavy and interrupted cutting functions, high precision and consistency, and optimal surface conditions. Satisfied with the service provided by Dormac, Barron Engineering decided to purchase a DN multifunction mill turn center without hesitation.
Dormac installed a 9-axis PUMA MX2100ST multi-tasking machine tool and two independently operating robot arms at the Barron Engineering worksite. With this combination, the company was equipped with production facilities capable of functioning 24/7 for the first time in its corporate history. This heightened production capacity led them to accept more new product orders. To handle the increase, the company purchased the PUMA SMX2600S model and two additional robot arms in 2016. “Because of the difference in wheel size, we produced front wheel hubs with the PUMA MX and rear wheel hubs with the PUMA SMX,” said Saverangs. “DN Solutions’ multi-tasking machine tools are very versatile. Depending on our needs, we can produce both front and rear wheels with either the PUMA MX2100ST or the PUMA SMX2600S.”
Saverangs added that the introduction of DN Solutions’ machines at its worksites has not only improved quality and productivity in a stable manner but also reduced the machine setting and production lead times, thus enabling workers to avoid working hastily without sufficient rest. He went on to say, “With our previous machine tools, we had to reinstall them more than five times according to changes in the machining environments. Now, we can conveniently carry out various processes with a single operation.” Thanks to this change for the better, Barron Engineering can now produce ninety wheel hubs a day with the PUMA MX and the PUMA SMX. Furthermore, if the company runs the PUMA 230M lathe and the 5-axis VC 630 milling machine, it will be able to sharply increase its daily production total of wheel hubs to 120.
Bonus Benefit: Cleaner Work Environment
Barron Engineering has also expressed satisfaction with the fact that the PUMA SMX has not just increased its productivity, but also made its working environment cleaner, which in turn has improved its work efficiency. The company used to have difficulty disposing of chips when it was producing a large quantity of aluminum parts overnight. The introduction of the PUMA SMX has solved the problem. The PUMA SMX has a sturdy, vertical structure so chips fall easily on to the conveyor belts beneath and are removed completely. Saverangs said, “After operating the PUMA SMX overnight, we found no chips at all in the morning,” adding, “Total chip disposal is a tremendous gain for us.”
Saverangs concluded by saying, “Behind the market recognition of our outstanding quality is the huge role played by the multi-tasking machine tools PUMA MX and PUMA SMX. To anyone that is thinking of buying these machine tools, I would actively recommend them for their high productivity, precision machining and outstanding quality compared to their prices.”